The Daily Obedience

This offering of prayer is to be made daily on its own or in the context of Morning or Evening Prayer, or the Eucharist.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Here and in all your churches throughout the world, we adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.


The reading for the day from the Principles of the Third Order.


The prayer for the day of the month from the Interprovincial Third Order Intercession list.

The prayer from the African Province Intercession List.

O God, we give you thanks for the Third Order of the Society of St Francis. Grant, we pray, that being knit together in community and prayer, we your servants may glorify your holy name after the example of St Francis, and win others to your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.



Almighty God, your love led Francis and Clare to establish our three Orders: draw us into your love that we may grow in love towards all those we know, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who gives himself in love to all.


Heavenly Father, you are always pleased to show yourself to those who are childlike and humble in spirit: help us to follow the example of our blessed father Francis, to look upon the wisdom of this world as foolishness, and to set our minds only on Christ Jesus and him crucified; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be all glory for ever.


O God, you resist the proud and give grace to the humble: help us not to think proudly, but to serve you with the humility that pleases you, so we may walk in the steps of your servant Francis and receive the gift of your grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Merciful God, you have made your church rich through the poverty of blessed Francis: help us like him, not to trust in earthly things, but to seek your heavenly gifts: through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Lord, without you our labour is wasted, but with you all who are weak can find strength: pour your Spirit on the Society of St. Francis, give your labourers a pure intention, patient faith, sufficient success on earth, and the joy of serving you in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Lord Jesus, in your servant Francis you dis-played the wonderful power of the cross: help us always to follow you in the way of the cross, and give us strength to resist all temptation, and to you, Lord, with the Father and the Holy Spirit be all glory for ever.


O God, by the life of blessed Francis you moved your people to a love of simple things: may we, after his example, hold lightly to the things of this world and store up for ourselves treasure in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The offering of prayer may continue with Morning or Evening Prayer or the Eucharist, or conclude with either of the following.



May our Blessed Lady pray for us;
May St. Francis pray for us;
May St. Clare pray for us;
May all the Saints of the Third Order pray for us;
May the holy angels watch over us and be-friend us;
May the Lord Jesus give us his blessing and his peace.


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God and
the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
be with us all forever.


The Object

Jesus said, Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it re-mains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.


The Object (continued)

In the example of his own sacrifice, Jesus reveals the secret of bearing fruit. In surrendering himself to death, he becomes the source of new life. Lifted from the earth on the cross, he draws all people to himself. Clinging to life causes life to decay; the life that is freely given is eternal.


The Object (continued)

Jesus calls those who would serve him to follow his example and choose for themselves the same path of renunciation and sacrifice. To those who hear and obey, he promises union with God.

The object of the Society of St. Francis is to build a community of those who accept Christ as their Lord and Master, and are dedicated to him in body and spirit. They surrender their lives to him and to the service of his people.

We, who are members of the Third Order, consist of those who, while following the ordinary professions of life, feel called to dedicate our lives under a definite discipline and vows. We may be female or male, married or single, ordained or lay.


The Object (continued)

When St. Francis encouraged the formation of the Third Order he recognized that many of us are called to serve God in the spirit of poverty, chastity and obedience in everyday life (rather than in a literal acceptance of these principles as in the vows of the brothers and sisters of the First and Second Orders.) The rule of the Third Order is intended to enable us in the duties and conditions of daily living and for us to carry them out in this spirit.


The First Aim of the Order

The first aim of the Order is to make our Lord known and loved everywhere. The Order is founded on the conviction that Jesus Christ is the perfect revelation of God; that true life has been made available to us by his incarna-tion and ministry, by his cross and resurrection, and by the sending of the Holy Spirit. We believe that it is the commission of the church to make the gospel known to all, and therefore accept the duty of bringing others to know Christ and of praying and working for the coming of the Kingdom of God.


The First Aim (continued)

The primary aim for us as tertiaries is there-fore to make Christ known. This shapes our lives and our attitudes to reflect the obedience of those whom the Lord chooses to be with Him and sent out as his witnesses. Like them, we, by word and example, bear witness to Christ in our own immediate environment and pray and work for the fulfillment of his command to make disciples of all nations.


The Second Aim

The second aim of the Order is to spread the spirit of love and harmony. We set out, in the name of Christ, to break down barriers between people and to seek equality for all.

We accept as our second aim the spreading of the spirit of love and harmony among all people. We are pledged to fight against the ignorance, pride and prejudice that breed injustice or partiality of any kind.


The Second Aim (continued)

We as members of the Third Order fight against all injustice in the name of Christ, in whom there can be neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for in him all are one. Our chief object is to reflect that openness to all that was characteristic of Jesus. This can only be achieved in a spirit of chastity, which sees others as belonging to God and not as a means of self fulfilment.


The Second Aim (continued)

We as tertiaries are prepared not only to speak out for social justice and international peace, but also to put these principles into practice in our own lives, cheerfully facing any scorn or persecution to which this may lead.

DAY 10

The Third Aim

The third aim of the Order is to live simply. The first Christians surrendered completely to our Lord and recklessly gave all that they had, offering the world a new vision of a society in which a fresh attitude was taken to-wards material possessions. This vision was renewed by St. Francis when he chose Lady Poverty as his bride, desiring that all barriers set up by privilege based on wealth should be overcome by love. This is the inspiration for the third aim of the Order – to live simply.

DAY 11

The Third Aim (continued)

We as tertiaries, though we possess property and earn money to support ourselves and our families, show ourselves true followers of Christ and of St. Francis by our readiness to live simply and to share with others. We recognize that some of our members may be called to a literal following of St. Francis in a life of extreme simplicity. All of us, however accept that we avoid luxury and waste and regard our possessions as being held in trust for God.

DAY 12

The Third Aim (continued)

Personal spending is limited to what is necessary for our health and well-being and that of our dependents. We aim to stay free from attachment to wealth, keeping ourselves constantly aware of the poverty in the world and of its claim on us. We as tertiaries are concerned more for the generosity that gives all, than for the value of poverty itself. In this way, we reflect in spirit the acceptance of Jesus’ challenge to sell all, give to the poor, and follow him.

DAY 13

The Three Ways of Service

We as tertiaries desire to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, whom we serve in the three ways of Prayer, Study and Work. In the life of the Order as a whole, these three ways must find full and balanced expression, but it is not expected that all members de-vote themselves equally to all of them. Each individual’s service will vary according to his or her abilities and circumstances, yet each individual member’s Rule of Life must include each of the three ways.

DAY 14

The First Way of Service

The first way of service is Prayer.

We as tertiaries should live in an atmosphere of praise and prayer. We aim to be constantly aware of God’s presence so that we may indeed pray without ceasing. Our ever-deepening devotion to the indwelling Christ is a source of strength and joy. It is Christ’s love that inspires us to service and strengthens us for sacrifice.

DAY 15

The First Way of Service (continued)

The heart of our prayer is the Eucharist in which we share with other Christians the renewal of our union with our Lord and Saviour in his sacrifice, remembering his death and receiving his spiritual food.

DAY 16

The First Way of Service (continued)

We as tertiaries recognize the power of intercessory prayer for furthering the purposes of God’s kingdom and therefore seek a deepening fellowship with God in personal devotion and constantly intercede for the needs of His church and His world. Those of us who have much time at our disposal give prayer a large part in our daily lives. Those of us with less time must not fail to see the importance of prayer and to guard the time we have allotted to it from interruption. Lastly, we are encouraged to avail ourselves of the sacrament of Reconciliation through which the burden of past sin and failure is lifted and peace and hope restored.

DAY 17

The Second Way of Service

The second way of service is Study.

“This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) True knowledge is knowledge of God. We tertiaries therefore give priority to devotional study of scripture as one of the chief means of attaining that knowledge of God that leads to eternal life.

DAY 18

The Second Way of Service (continued)

We all recognize that we have a Christian responsibility to pursue types of study, both sacred and secular, in addition to the devotional study of scripture. Those of us in particular, who accept as our duty contributing, through research and writing, do so for the better understanding of the church’s mission to the world, the application of Christian principles to the use and distribution of wealth, questions concerning justice and peace and all other questions concerning the life of faith.

DAY 19

The Third Way of Service

The third way of service is Work.

Jesus took on himself the form of a servant. He came not to be served but to serve. He went about doing good; healing the sick, preaching good news to the poor and binding up the brokenhearted.

DAY 20

The Third Way of Service (continued)

We as tertiaries endeavour to serve others in active work. We try to find expression for each of the three aims of the Order in our lives and whenever possible actively to help others who are engaged in similar work. The chief form of service that we have to offer is to reflect the love of Christ, who in his beauty and power is the inspiration and joy of our lives.

DAY 21

The Three Notes of the Order

Humility, Love and Joy are the three notes (or signs) that mark the lives of each of us as tertiaries. When these characteristics are evident through the Order, its work will be fruitful. Without them all that it attempts will be in vain.

DAY 22

The First Note

The first note is Humility.

We always keep before us the example of Christ, who emptied himself, taking the form of a servant and who, on the last night of his life, humbly washed his disciples’ feet. We likewise seek to serve one another with humility.

DAY 23

The First Note (continued)

Humility confesses that we have nothing that we have not received and admits the fact of our insufficiency and our dependence upon God. It is the basis of all Christian virtues. St. Bernard of Clairvaux said, “No spiritual house can stand for a moment except on the foundation of humility.” It is the first condition of a joyful life within any community.

DAY 24

The First Note (continued)

The faults that we see in others are the subject of prayer rather than of criticism. We take care to cast out the beam from our own eye before offering to remove the speck from another’s. We are ready to accept the lowest place when asked and to volunteer to take it. Nevertheless when asked to undertake work of which we feel unworthy or incapable, we do not shrink from it on the grounds of humility, but confidently attempt it through the power that is made perfect in weakness.

DAY 25

The Second Note

The second note is Love.

Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone shall know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Love is the distinguishing feature of all true disciples of Christ who wish to dedicate themselves to him as his servants.

DAY 26

The Second Note (continued)

Therefore, we seek to love all those to whom we are bound by ties of family or friendship. Our love for them increases, as our love for Christ grows deeper. We have a special love and affection for members of the Third Order, praying for each other individually and seeking to grow in that love. We are on our guard against anything that might injure this love, and we seek reconciliation with those from whom we are estranged. We seek the same love for those with whom we have little natural affinity, for this kind of love is not a welling-up of emotion, but is a bond founded in our common union with Christ.

DAY 27

The Second Note (continued)

The Third Order is a Christian community whose members, though varied in race, education and character, are bound into a living whole through the love we share in Christ. This unity of all who believe in him will be-come, as our Lord intended, a witness to the world of his divine mission. In our relation-ships with those outside the Order, we show the same Christ-like love, and gladly give of ourselves, remembering that love is measured by sacrifice.

DAY 28

The Third Note

Tertiaries, rejoicing in the Lord always, show in our lives the grace and beauty of divine JOY.
We remember that we follow the Son of Man, who came eating and drinking, who loved the birds and the flowers, who blessed little children, who was a friend to tax collectors and sinners and who sat at the tables of both the rich and the poor. We delight in fun and laughter, rejoicing in God’s world, its beauty and its living creatures, calling nothing common or unclean. We mix freely with all people, ready to bind up the brokenhearted and to bring joy into the lives of others. We carry within us an inner peace and happiness, which others may perceive, even if they do not know its source.

DAY 29

The Third Note (continued)

This joy is a divine gift, coming from union with God in Christ. It is still there even in times of darkness and difficulty, giving cheerful courage in the face of disappointment, and an inward serenity and confidence through sickness and suffering. Those who possess it can rejoice in weakness, insults, hardships, and persecutions for Christ’s sake; for when we are weak, then we are strong.

DAY 30

The Three Notes

The humility, love and joy, which mark the lives of Tertiaries, are all God-given graces. They can never be obtained by human effort. They are gifts of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of Christ is to work miracles through people who are willing to be emptied of self and to surrender to him. We then become channels of grace through whom his mighty work is done.

DAY 31

The Principles of the Third Order, a portion of which is set for reflection each day, are based on the Rule of the Christa Seva Sangha from Poona in India. This community, formed in 1922, was inspired both by the Gospel of Christ and the way of life in an Indian Ash-ram. This community of married and single people, ordained and lay, led by Fr Jack Wins-low, lived a common life as equals.
In 1928 the Rule was revised under the guidance of Fr Algy Robertson and some aspects of that Rule can also be found in The Third Order Principles.